• Keeping Friends

My Friend Doesn’t Trust Me: What Can I Do?

Published: June 18, 2012 | Last Updated: September 6, 2021 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
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It can be frustrating when a friend doesn’t trust you but the ability to trust may be deeply ingrained in personality.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I’m having a bit of a “fight” with my best friend. Let me first explain a bit about us. She’s a year younger than I am (27) and is bipolar with rapid and extreme swings between depression and mania. Currently, she is manic. On top of being bipolar, she also has an eating disorder and generally has a very negative view of her (perfect) body and person. This means she is very insecure about how people see her, takes criticism very personally and belittles herself almost constantly. I don’t think she trusts me.

I try to provide some perspective and cheer her up by being reasonable and by promoting the great aspects of her body and personality (which generally does little to help). In the past, she has expressed that she is uncomfortable sharing men (e.g. allowing me to become friends with her male friends) as she fears I would sleep with them.

I have in the past flirted via instant message with one before she told me this, and I stopped flirting and eventually stopped chatting with him altogether even though I liked him and would’ve liked keeping him as a friend only.

I also visited her ex-boyfriend when I needed a friend to talk to and she was too manic and self-involved to be there for me (I was going through a break-up). I did not see him for sex, though he did try to initiate it. I refused and left.

Because I did not tell her about it until afterward, she suspected I had sex with him, which I have denied, and I find that quite insulting that she would think I’d do that when I know how she feels. I should not have seen him, and I apologized to her for it, repeatedly. Her male friends generally like me and both of her ex’s contacted me after the break up to talk about it (which I told her about).

I have an approach to men and friends that goes along the lines of… it is not my place to stop a relationship or friendship from occurring because of my own emotional baggage or jealousy. So, for me, it is very hard to accept that I must sacrifice potential friendships because she is uncomfortable with the idea. She sees this life view as confirmation that I would happily sleep with her guy friends behind her back.

I have told her I respect her point of view and I have stopped talking to all of “her” male friends, I feel resentment, however, both because she is taking that freedom away from me and because she does not trust me to keep a platonic relationship with them.

She keeps telling me that if she were to flirt with my male friends I would be jealous, which I keep denying. She won’t believe me, however, no matter what I say. I’ve even tried to set her up with one friend-with-benefits of mine, but she didn’t like him and felt awkward with the idea of him having been with me.

I don’t know how to get her to respect my belief and stop her from projecting her own feelings of jealousy and possessiveness onto me. It’s got to the point where I don’t want to see or speak to her and want to stop her seeing my male friends out of spite.

What should I do? Is her mistrust so deep-seated she’ll never lose it? Will she ever trust me with her male friends? What can I do to engender that kind of trust?

Signed, Cindy

ANSWER

Hi Cindy,

Your friend seems to have a number of insecurities and emotional problems. She also has a personality, as well as perspectives on friendship and dating, that differ from yours.

Just as you can’t reasonably expect to treat your friend’s psychological problems, you can’t reasonably expect to change her personality, make her less jealous and possessive, or convince her that she should be just like you.

Where does that leave you? It means that it probably isn’t a good idea to share male friends with her. Even if there was no malicious intent, the two incidents that occurred in the past, flirting with someone she felt belonged to her and seeking out her ex-boyfriend for support, have made her even more sensitive.

At your age, dating probably plays an important role in your life and your friendships. But given your friend’s personality, yours, and your history together, I think the only way to preserve this friendship is for both of you to keep your dating lives distinctly separate from your friendship.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (5)

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  1. Li says:

    Um I need help lately the people that I thought were my friends are ignoring me because they saying was talking about them when I wasn’t I heard them talking about me in a bad way and ignoring me the only friends I have is my bestfriend and another friend what should I do ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this comment. My friend- who is engaged- set me up with a male friend of hers. When she found out we were talking and sort of hit it off, she started to list his bad qualities and almost became jealous that we were talking. I didn’t want to lose the friendship, so I slowly backed away. Then one day she said he found another girl and that was that, lol. It’s like everyone is her possession, especially guys, even though she can’t really “have” any of them since she has a fiance. (She still acts like it though.) It’s not like she dated any of these guys, but the way she acts it’s like she did. I dunno. Sometimes you can’t mix friends and guys. Some girls can’t handle it. (Some can, but even then you have to be careful.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    you say that you want to be “friends” with her male friends,but shes jealous.first of why do you want to be friends only with the male friends,theres no female friends around?….who are you kidding? its obvious something else is going on here!………

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes. It is obvious that your friend has emotional problems. Changing her personality is almost impossible. What you are going to do depends on which do you value more. Do you value the friendship between you two more, or do you value your completely free social life. If you prefer the former, then I agree with Irene very much. “keep your dating lives distinctly separate from your friendship”.

    -TrintMe (http://www.trintme.com/)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your friend views her “friends” (from what you’ve written) as her possessions. She probably looks at you the same way. You are her possession.

    My former bff was the same way. She is bi-polar, with an eating disorder and from what I’ve heard recently she was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I loved her and foolishly thought my friendship would help “fix” her when all the friendship did was give me an ulcer.

    You can be friends with who ever you want to be friends with and if she balks at that, then that’s her issue. She’s controlling you by making you think, that she thinks you are loose and will sleep with any and all of her male friends. Who cares?! They’re only her friends, right? So what’s the big problem? The only reason I can think of that she would act that way, is if she is sleeping with all of her male friends. Otherwise, she’s just a flat-out jealous and possessive person who only sees others as tools for her to use.

    Tread lightly with this one. She’s got control issues!

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